Friday, October 31, 2008

Mediatations for Voters: Cellini Documents & Audio, Blagojevich, Rezko, Daley, Gutierrez

A little two-day roundup of news from Clout Street that will be unsurprising to corruption-weary Chicagoans:

Read the Cellini indictment documents

A federal grand jury indicted longtime political powerbroker William Cellini of Springfield today on corruption charges alleging he was involved in a scheme to shake down companies seeking investments at the scandal-plagued Teachers Retirement System.
The documents include the indictment, press release and audio of wiretapped conversations between Rezko and Cellini, discussing "alleged plot to shake down Thomas Rosenberg". (Note the profanity warning.)


Kass calls it "Newsheimers*". . .
Dan Mihalopoulos: Daley won't talk about development probe:
Mayor Richard Daley cut off questions today about a controversial West Side housing development that is now under federal investigation.

The Tribune reported today (see full story below) that U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez sent Daley a letter backing the developer of the project shortly after Guitierrez got a loan from the developer. At the time, city planners were telling the mayor they didn’t like the development plan. But it was eventually approved.

Daley refused to answer questions about his knowledge of the project or the congressman's letter, saying he hadn't read the story.

When reporters tried to press him, Daley cut them off.
Some background (same page):
Congressman's $200,000 loan
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez's loan from a developer who contributes to his campaign raises questions about how clout drives the city's zoning system

By Robert Becker, Todd Lighty and Dan Mihalopoulos

Gutierrez said there is no connection between the loan and his letter of support for the Galewood Yards project, which is not in his district. In a written statement, the congressman said his involvement was "extremely minimal" and "entirely appropriate."

He said he has not been contacted by federal authorities.

The federal investigation comes as the Tribune's "Neighborhoods for Sale" series documents an insiders' game in which politicians rake in millions in campaign cash from developers and other real estate interests while often overriding concerns of homeowners and city planners. It is a system that has fundamentally reshaped the character of city neighborhoods.

Ya' think?
Monique Garcia: Blagojevich opposes convention question:
Rod Blagojevich said today that he doesn't support a convention to rewrite the state's 1970 constitution because he fears attempts to strip some of his executive powers.

Seems like we've heard this before . . . "no new taxes".

Hal Dardick: Stroger: no new taxes in budget plan
Months after convincing commissioners to approve a one-penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said Wednesday that the spending plan he will introduce next month won't include tax or fee hikes.

"No, it will not include any new revenue sources," Stroger said after a luncheon speech at the City Club of Chicago.
Guess his relatives won't be needing raises for awhile.


What was that about "no new taxes"?
Hal Dardick: Study says special taxing districts costing Chicago coffers $555 million
Chicago property tax revenue diverted from schools, parks, day-to-day city expenses and other local government operations to city development projects increased by about $55 million in 2007 to $555 million, an 11 percent jump from the previous year, according to a report released today by Cook County Clerk David Orr.

Some critics of tax increment finance districts, known as TIFs, say they are partly responsible for the city's current budget shortfall, pegged at $469 million. To address the gap, Mayor Richard Daley has proposed layoffs and increased fees and taxes for 2009.
Notice how this stuff always ends with more taxes and fees? They play, you pay.


* There is a blog called Newsheimers - a news man critiquing the news, I think. I don't know who coined the term.


Anonymous said...

The blog you're talking about is mine. I kept it active while I was out of the news business for about two years in Columbus, OH. Now that I'm back in, it's gone dormant, although I'm keeping the name and ownership rights of the web address: I don't know who coined the term either, but it's been used in newsrooms as long as I can remember... and I've been in TV and radio for more than 25 years.
Best Regards,
Kevin Dee Howell
Executive Producer
CBS12 News
West Palm Beach, FL

Pat said...

Thanks for stopping by to let us know. I'm sorry to hear that is dormant. I loved it, and I do hope you'll decide to reactivate it at some future date. Meanwhile, feel free to visit here and share your thoughts. We'd love to take advantage of those years of experience in the news business!

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